- Bill Williamson, ESPN Staff Writer
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SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- Safety Antoine Bethea fancies himself a fan of the NFL.
Predictably, he has an affinity for the players who roam the same position that he does. So, he had a cursory knowledge of Eric Reid, who shined as a rookie last year. Yet, Bethea didn’t realize just how special was until the two safeties became teammates this spring.
“He’s abilities are beyond his years,’ said Bethea of Reid. “Second-year players just don’t act and play the way he does.”
Reid earned a Pro Bowl spot as a rookie last season. Reid completely justified the 49ers moving up 13 spots to take him at No. 18 in the first round. He was a complete player.
Bethea said is thoroughly impressed in how Reid handles himself on the field, in the classroom and in the locker room.
“I knew he was good as a rookie,” Bethea said. “But I didn’t just how impressive he is until I started being around him.”
The 49ers hope Bethea has the same success Reid did when he replaced Dashon Goldson, who left last year in free agency. Bethea signed with the 49ers hours after Donte Whitner left the team in free agency in March.